What is a Groninger Blaarkop cow? (Blister head)

The Groninger Blaarkop (English: Blister head) comes, as the name implies, from the province of Groningen and is a real Dutch cattle. The cowhide of the Groninger Blaarkop is mostly black or red (brown) with a white head, white underbelly and white legs. Around the eyes, the Blaarkop has black or red (brown) spots called blisters. Of all Blaarkoppen, approximately 60% are red white and 40% are black white.

What are characteristics of the Groninger Blaarkop cow?

The Groninger Blaarkop is a well spotted breed with a horned head and strong legs. With a friendly character and little or no burden of disease these animals can be outside almost all year. This makes these animals suitable for sustainable agriculture and for nature grazing projects.

The bulls are about 1.45 to 1.50 meters high and weigh ±800 kilograms. The cows are somewhat smaller, they are about 1.35 to 1.40 meters high and weigh ±600 kilograms. And a Blaarkop calf weighs about 35 kilograms at birth. The cows are used for the production of milk and supply about 6000 to 7000 kilograms of milk per year. The milk given by these cows has a fat percentage of 4.35% and a protein percentage of 3.6%. The Groninger Blaar heads also have a good fertility and calve easily.

The history of the Groninger Blaarkop

Since the Middle Ages (year 500 to 1500) Groninger Blaarkoppen have been running around. However, from the beginning of the last century (year 1901 to 2000) the breed was increasingly supplanted by imports of foreign cattle. In 1902, the Dutch Cattle Studbook (NRS) distinguished the black blister and the black white heads. Although there were also red (brown) colored Groninger Blaar heads the NRS did not want to recognize them. In 1931 both the black and red ones were recognized.

Around 1970-1980 there were about 22 million cows in the Netherlands of which only 1% were Groninger Blaarkoppen. Since that time the number of Blaarkoppen has decreased, so that in 1998 there were only ±10,000 Blaarkoppen left. Various groups of breeders, dairy farmers and hobby farmers are trying to preserve the breed. Nowadays the breed falls under the rare pets.